Friday, 12 October 2012

NEMESIS 4: CRY OF ANGELS (1999)

NEMESIS 4: CRY OF ANGELS 
AKA NEMESIS 4, NEMESIS 4: DEATH ANGEL AND NEMESIS 4: ANGEL OF DEATH 
Director: Albert Pyun 

So at last I have finally completed my NEMESIS set. All four films are now in my possession, and I've finally seen the final movie. I kinda wish I hadn't bothered tracking down a nice imported NTSC VHS copy for my library, as I really do feel I wasted my time getting hold of it and watching the damn thing. You can find my reviews of the first three namely NEMESIS, NEMESIS 2: NEBULA and NEMESIS 3: TIME LAPSE elsewhere on this site.

In a nutshell, I loved the first two and can tolerate the third. The first is a classic of low budget cyberpunk cinema involving long coats, ultraviolence, Olivier Gruner, Brion James and some cheap but cool special effects.

The second and third are nothing like that, instead bringing us ludicrously muscular bodybuilder Sue Price as Alex, a genetically engineered warrior flung into the past as a child in order to escape the marauding cyborgs which are at war with humanity in the future (yeah, I know, shades of a certain series of flicks starting with the letter 'T').

The second was a rip-off of Predator, while the third was just a demented mess. I still kinda liked it, though. At the end of that film, there was a stinger promising all kinds of explodey mayhem in NEMESIS 4.

Instead.... this.

In NEMESIS 4: CRY OF ANGELS, the war has ended (we missed that film, evidently) and Alex is working as an assassin in a burned-out city. The film looks dreadful, although it has a certain art-house quality to it. That quality is hugely out of place though.

Alex wants to quit her life of killing, and asks for a final assignment. As she takes the target out, she begins to hallucinate, seeing a strange woman in black... is this the angel of death?

Uh... then some other stuff happens, involving some dull action scenes and far too many scenes of Alex semi-or-fully naked, shot in such a fashion as to feel nothing but exploitative, and not in a fun way.

Andrew Divoff shows up as a close-up face with some daft makeup on, being all cyberpunky at the camera. And there are some mutants, or cyborgs, or something. And lots of messy sex. Uh... I'm really struggling to tell you a great deal about the film because not much actually happens in it. Minus the credits, it runs for about 70 minutes and even that running time it's stretched.

The run-down locale is nice and atmospheric (looks like central Europe somewhere), but it's an utterly pointless film and answers none of the questions left by the third. It certainly doesn't deliver the sort of film that previous sequel promised, and it's hard to work out why it even has the NEMESIS title. It's a shame, as it really feels like a film series I have enjoyed many times has been ruined by seeing this last one. A huge wasted opportunity.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Revisiting... VIDEO NASTIES: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE

This three-disc box set remains one of my favourite releases in years, containing the VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP AND VIDEOTAPE as well as trailers for all 72 films on the DPP Video Nasties list, hours of Video company idents, interviews and more.

It's ridiculously entertaining even after many viewings, and its 13 and a half hour running time is offering me some brilliant background noise and inspiration while I write my new book. Speaking of which... I haven't posted about that here have I?

Coming October 15th: VHS ATE MY BRAIN

An account of life as a VHS horror collector, memories of the video rental era, interviews with other collectors and more! Told with humour, passion and my typically self-depricating tone, VHS ATE MY BRAIN is my next trip into waters cult, geeky and obscure.

Coming October 15th in paperback and ebook from DREAMRIDER MEDIA.

DREDD 3D (2012)


The new Judge Dredd movie is here, and it has its work cut out in order to scrub the 1995 Stallone version out of the memory. The previous Dredd movie got a lot of things right such as Mega City One, the Angel gang and Judge hershey, but it got Dredd himself compltely wrong. Now, with Karl Urban under the helmet and Olivia Thirlby at his side as Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson, audiences have a film in which Judge Dredd himself is absolutely, utterly perfect, but everything around him in the film is dividing opinion to a rather alarming degree.

From the moment the film starts, you know that this is not a Hollywood film, and that fact alone gives it so much more power right from the first scene. Shot in Johannesburg and featuring a cast which is largely unfamiliar to global audiences, the film is bleak, brutal, stylish and so gritty it hurts. He keeps the helmet on, there's no Rob Schneider, no Hollywood meddling, and it has come out beautifully as a grim and relentless action film which is absolutely nothing like what came before.

It isn't the Judge Dredd film that fans of the character have had in their heads for years, but in terms of bringing the character to the screen properly and without a big, crass Hollywood polish, it's absolutely perfect.


Dredd and a rookie Judge the psychic Anderson, are dispatched to calm a turf war between drug gangs in the Peach Trees block. They get caught up in the battle, and end up as the prey as all 200 floors of the giant block turn against them. Yes, it shares some plot similarities with 'The Raid', but who actually gives a crap? This is a DROKKING JUDGE DREDD FILM, and thus by definition is set apart from that other film. It's just a shame that they came out so close together, as comparisons are inevitable.

DREDD 3D is a beautiful symphony of ultraviolence which brings the brutal 2000AD concepts to the big screen in a fashion a million times harder than the Stallone version. The two films are so utterly different that there is absolutely no way anyone watching it can see it as a remake. This is a new start, and it kicks ass.


The violence is gorgeously shot, and you'll be surprised at just how pretty the sight of someone's face being blown to pieces (and splattering out of the edges of the letterboxed film) can be. The Slo-Mo sections are a wonder to behold, psychedelic and aesthetically very pretty, but again they mainly serve to make the brutality on show even more shocking. The Slo-Mo effect is maybe used a little too often, but that's a small gripe, really. Lena Headey clearly had a blast playing the villainous Ma-Ma, and she steals each of her scenes with a performance at once quietly malevolent and utterly unhinged.

The film may be lo-fi and relatively low budget, but it blasts at the viewer like a Hi-Ex from Dredd's Lawgiver, and will hopefully lead to larger scale sequels. The world of Judge Dredd is so vast and rich and entertaining that it would be a crime in itself not to see more of it. So get to it, Urban and co, or you'll end up in the Iso-Cubes with the rest of the perps! DREDD is brilliant.

PS: Yes, it's better than the oddly-cut trailers make it seem.